1530; Pearls Exclusively for Royalty



In the 16th century, pearls were considered a gem to be exclusively possessed and worn by the royalty. Queen Elizabeth I and Catherine de Medici’s portraits were always painted overlaid with pearls. In the year 1530, the Victorian Pearl Broochofficials of Augsburg permitted noble women to have four silk dresses but no pearls, and in 1612 the Duke of Saxony legislated that: ‘The nobility are not allowed to wear any dresses of gold or silver or those garnished with pearls; neither shall the professors and doctors of the universities nor their wives wear any gold, silver or pearls for fringes or any chains of pearls, or caps, neck ornaments, shoes, slippers, shawls, pins, etc. embellished with gold or pearls’.

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